Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Park Our Town Built / El parque que nuestro pueblo construyó Wins Bronze Moonbeam Children's Book Award!

Raven Tree Press (McHenry, IL) is proud to announce that the book The Park Our Town Built / El parque nuestro pueblo construyó has won the prestigious Moonbeam Bronze Medal in the "Multicultural Picture Book" category.

Presented by the Jenkins Group and Independent Publisher Online, the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children's books and their creators, and to celebrate children's books and life-long reading. Each year's entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages. As our society has gotten more complex and growing up has become more complicated, children's book authors and publishers have risen to the occasion, creating books that not only celebrate the joys of childhood, but also help kids and families deal with its challenges. The Moonbeam Awards recognize and reward the best of these books and bring them to the attention of parents, booksellers, librarians, parents and children.

The Park Our Town Built, released May 2011, is available in an English-only edition and an embedded text bilingual English/Spanish edition in which the story is presented mostly in English with keywords in Spanish sprinkled within its context.

Written by Diane Gonzales Bertrand (San Antonio, TX)
Illustrated by Tanja Bauerle (Gilbert, AZ)

Hardcover English only Edition $16.95 ISBN 9781936299140
Hardcover Bilingual Edition $16.95 ISBN 9781936299126

The mayor wants a community park and safe playground for the children. She enlists a group of kids to join her in asking one of the citizens to donate some of his land. When he agrees, he joins all the families and friends who set out to build swings, benches, gardens, and a fountain. There is excitement and a sense of purpose to build the park for all to enjoy. The whole town comes together to create a beautiful park and celebrate with a grand picnic and beautiful fireworks when the job is done.

The narrative text builds line by line and page by page, using repetition and imagery to create a charming story for young readers. Vocabulary recognition and matching pictures to the text help readers gain confidence in both comprehension skills and predicting a sequence of events.

Raven Tree Press is an independent children's picture book publisher specializing in bilingual books in English and Spanish. The publishing house is a division of Delta Systems Co., Inc. of McHenry, IL.

Each 32-page picture book features family-oriented storylines and beautiful illustrations. The hardcover books ($16.95) and paperback books ($7.95) are available at independent and chain bookstores, online booksellers and at the Publisher's website www.raventreepress.com.

ForeWord Review - "The Park Our Town Built"

Here is a great review of "The Park Our Town Built" that ran in the August issues of ForeWord Review.

Check it out and let us know what you think.

The US Census Bureau reports there are 17.3 million Spanish–speaking residents in the United States today—thus expanding the market for bilingual illustrated children’s offerings to 4,900 books in print today. The Park Our Town Built/El Parque Que Nuestro Pueblo Construyó, byDiane Gonzales Bertrand, enters the genre with a twist.
The author’s unique format is akin to age–old songs, many relating to holidays, which zigzagacross cultural and religious boundaries, each verse building on the one before. The Twelve Days of Christmas and the Passover song, Dayenu, are well–known examples from Judeo Christian songbooks. In The Park Our Town Built, each page’s vocabulary builds on the preceding page in sync with the story development, using Spanish for significant concept words.

Generally, bilingual books are set up with a clear separation between the languages, with one on the left and the other on the right. A second style displays one language throughout a story tothe end, with a second language version available when the reader flips the book over. Gonzales Bertrand’s convention of accumulation enhances the readability factor in this title.
In addition to the language lesson, the sweet story line encourages cooperation as the public and private citizens of the town unite to build a public park. The narrative conveys some important points to young readers. The female Alcaldesa (the mayor) character, sends the message that jobs are not gender–specific; a woman in a wheelchair enjoying the celebration of the park opening shows a handicapped person fully participating in the festivities; a well–off resident donating the land for the park; another contributing the tools and the children and adultsworking in unison for a common goal.
Tanja Bauerle’s colorful, spirited illustrations convey a strong sense of community, showcasingadults, children, and animals in various hairstyles, manner of dress, and ethnicities dancing and playing together. A town where prejudice of all kinds is outmoded, the pueblo in this story isinspirational. Both text and illustrations are joyful and energetic, entertaining for children and hopeful to an adult reading aloud.
A Vocabulary Page at the end of the story gives readers a concise an accurate translation between English and Spanish terminology. The location of this resource at the back of the book adds to the fun as the reader learns to place the words in context, a vital critical thinking skill.

Julie Eakin, Book Review Editor

ForeWord Reviews

"The Park Our Town Built" is featured in the CBC Fall 2011 Seasonal Showcase

Great News! The Park Our Town Built will be a featured book in the Fall 2011 Seasonal Showcase of the Children's Book Council. The “Starting From Scratch” booklist will be featured on the CBC website starting September 29th, so our "Park" book will be rotated onto the site within a couple weeks from that date. Check out the CBC site at http://www.cbcbooks.org/ .

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Support James Owen's "Drawing Out The Dragons" Project

If you ever have listened to one of James Owen's presentations, you will understand when I say, he is magical. He has a way of connecting with his audience and lifting your spirits that you leave feeling like you can accomplish anything. When you listen to him describe what he has gone through and what he has a accomplished you begin to feel that anything is possible. The thing that I love most about listening to him is that he always takes the high road which is not always the easiest path. He is truly a "Good Guy."

He is an inspiration and that is why I ask that you support his latest project. Visit the link above and view to his video. He talks about the project, what it is and what he is trying to accomplish. In addition to being an inspiration, he is also the nicest guy you'll ever meet. Let's all support him in bringing this project to life.

Happy Drawing,

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tissue Collage Workshop at Changing Hands Bookstore

Join me at Changing Hands Bookstore for a fun workshop. We'll be making animal collages out of tissue paper. It will be a blast. Here is all the info:

When: Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Time: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Cost: $5.00 (but it's redeemable towards the purchase of one of one of my picture books. Isn't Changing Hands awesome?)

PLEASE NOTE: This Workshop is not suitable for children under 5. Children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult.

Register and pre-pay at 480.730.0205

To learn more check out the Changing Hands Website at:

See you there.


Monday, May 30, 2011

New Blog Page for Park book

In order to share more information about my new book, "The Park our Town Built" by Raven Tree Press, I created a new blog/web page just for the book. Check it out at : http://theparkourtownbuilt.wordpress.com . You will be able to find all the games hidden inside the book, as well as any new information about the book as it becomes available. You are also able to leave me comments and suggestions.
Happy drawing.

San Tan Sun News Article - May 7 - 20, 2011

Here is a quick article that was in the San Tan Sun News at the beginning of May. 
Happy Drawing.

BEA 2011 book signing in New York

Last week I was in New York all week. The main reason for the trip was for my book signing at the BEA 2011 at the Jacob Javits Conference Center. I took advantage of being there and set up some appointments and met up with some friends while I was there. It was a great week!

I'll post some more about my trip later but for now, here are some photos of the BEA signing. The hour just flew by and we went through the entire stock of books that we brought. People really responded well to the book. They especially liked the different games and activities that I incorporated into the illustrations. While there I was finally able to meet in person the wonderful Lorraine Dey. She is a fellow Raven Tree Press illustrators and an incredible talent.

Happy Drawing!

Photo from Changing Hands Reading

Here's a photo from my recent story time reading at Changing Hands Bookstore. Thank you to the wonderful Becky King for sharing the photo. As you can see my camera was idlely sitting on the table.

IF - sleepy

After a long exciting adventure, the pups were fast asleep on the favorite pillow.

Detail from "The Adventures of Salt & Soap at Grand Canyon", published 2009 by the Grand Canyon Association.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thank you for coming to my story reading

Thank you everyone who came along to my story reading at Changing Hands Bookstore last week. It was a great morning spent with wonderful people. Thank you Brandi for all you do.


Join me at the BEA for a signing

Join me at the Book Expo of America in New York on May 25th, 2011. I'll be signing my new book "The Park our Town Built", written by Diane Gonzales Bertrand, at the Author's Signing Area at table 20.

Hope to see you there.

The exact address and time is:

Book Expo America- Jacob K. Javits Center
655W 34th Street
New York, NY 10001

Wednesday, 25th May
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
The Author's Signing Area
Table #20

Monday, April 25, 2011

What's better than getting a box of your new books?

Getting TWO boxes of your two latest books. Last week I had the nicest surprise when I came home one day. I got a box from Raven Tree Press that included both the English and the bilingual versions of my latest book "The Park that Our Town Built." But wait... there's more. On the same day I also got a box from my other publisher, Do Life Right, Inc., with the brand new Wright On Time book #4 "South Dakota." It sure feels great to see all that work right there in it's final format. It's been a very happy week.


My new book is now available!

Check this out! I just got notification from my publisher, Raven Tree Press, that my new book is now available. It's the one on the bottom, "The Park that our Town Built." Keep checking back as I'll be posting my upcoming events.

Happy Drawing.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wright on Time 5 - Minnesota Cover

I'm currently working on the cover painting of the fifth book of the Wright On Time series. This time they will be heading to Minnesota. Basic under-painting is done so lots of fine tuning is now needed.

Happy Drawing.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I finally created a Facebook Fan Page

Ok, better late than never, right? I have finally created a fan page on Facebook for my illustrations. I'll post happnings, events and new artwork there as often as I can. Just click the like button.

Happy Drawing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tucson Festival of Books

This past weekend was the Tucson Festival of Books. It was the third one since it began and each year it has gotten bigger and bigger. I heard people saying that over 100,000 people were expected to visit the festival over the weekend. Staggering numbers.

Most of my time was spent listening to various panels and presentations and spending time at the SCBWI booth. What an wonderful weekend it was. I must admit that I was somewhat star struck when being in the presence of three (yes 3) Caldecott winners.

E.B. Lewis, David Wiesner, Eric Rohman and Chris Gall

On Saturday, I watched in awe as E.B. Lewis, David Wiesner and Eric Rohmann bantered with Chris Gall, who moderated the panel, about their work, inspirations and passion. Each one of these incredible artists shared wonderful pearls of wisdom with the audience about what drives them. Eric Rohman described himself as someone "who sits alone in his room trying to reach as many people as he can." E.B. Lewis, who uses the term "Artistrator" instead of illustrator, at one point turned to the audience and said, "I don't know about you guys but I'm having fun here." What became obvious is that the three of them, all Caldecott winners, had one thing in common. They are all incredibly passionate about the picture book format and entirely committed to process of creating. Storytelling is of utmost importance and they completely immerse themselves in the process of creating an exciting, unique and emotional experience for the reader. The idea of awards, accolades, and success do not even come to mind. It was incredible to watch and listen to.

Chris Gall, Me and David Christiana

Both Chris Gall and David Christiana are illustrators that live in Tucson and I run into them every so often. We were all part of an illustration show a couple of years ago at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Ok, so I'm a geek, but I couldn't resist the photo opportunity.

Adam Rex giving a digital painting presentation

The next presentation I attended was Adam Rex's demonstration of how he digitally paints his illustrations. I work traditionally so I wanted to see how a true professional tackles the digital medium. It was a great  presentation and I learned a lot about the process. So, I've now added the goal of digital painting that does not look digital to my list of things to accomplish.

David Wiesner talking about wordless picture books

David Wiesner and Eric Rohman talking about wordless picture books

David Christiana moderating the panel about wordless picture books

Next, I was in for yet another treat. David Christiana moderated a panel with David Wiesner and Erik Rohman about wordless picture books. David Wiesner gave us a history of the wordless picture book and covered many, many artists that have produced them in the past. The list was surprisingly long. They shared many of the inspirations about what drove them to creating wordless picture books. It once again fell back to their love of storytelling. They used terms such as "the ebb and flow" of the picture book and focused, on the importance of directing the reader and building the page turn. I was in awe. One of them quoted Degas: "a sculpture is something you back into when looking at a painting." I don't remember what it was in reference to but I thought it was worth repeating. :)

E.B. Lewis, Wendy Watson and Adam Rex talking about illustrating the stories of other authors.

Michelle Parker-Rock moderating the panel with E.B.Lewis

The last panel that I attended was moderated by our very own Michelle Parker-Rock, and it featured E.B. Lewis, Wendy Watson and Adam Rex talking about the process of illustrating the work of other authors. They talked about what draws them to certain manuscripts and how they tackle illustrating the work of others. Once again it became very evident that they all are extremely passionate about their craft. E.B. Lewis, who is so incredible to listen to, shared that his studio has an entire room filled with period costumes ranging from the 1800's to today. He also came up with a visual that will remain with be forever. I am summarizing but he said that the picture book is a piece of cloth made up of the words (the vertical threads) and the visuals (the horizontal threads). He was so much more eloquent when he said this but essentially he stressed the importance of each of these elements and that only together do they make the whole.

It was incredible to be able to listen to these artists share their passion. I am so inspired right now to get back to work.

Happy Drawing.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Shaun Tan Wins an Oscar

Did you watch the Oscars last night? How exciting that Shaun Tan won an Oscar for Best Animated Short for his film “The Lost Thing”. I am so excited to see his success with his animation, especially seeing that I have always been a fan or his incredible illustrations. Check out his website:


Here is a link to a page on Shaun Tan’s web site where he talks about “The Lost Thing.” He has lots of sketches and talks about the film as well.  http://www.shauntan.net/film1.html

Image from "The Lost Thing"

Illustration from "The Red Tree"

Illustration from “The Arrival”

Illustration from “The Rabbits”

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thank you Bustoz Elementary

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting my illustration program to the second and third grade classes at Bustoz Elementary School in Tempe. On Thursday evening the school had a reading night where the kids actually received books and my group received my Salt & Soap book. It was such a great group. I get so much pleasure out of sharing what I do with the kids and to see their reactions about what is actually involved in the process of bringing a book to life. One of the little girls even asked me if I would illustrate the book that she wrote. That made my heart happy.

I'd like to send out a huge thank you to Jen Robinson and Kim, the librarian at Bustoz, who made this a wonderful visit. Another huge thank you goes to Stephanie Kilgore, from Changing Hands Bookstore, for organizing this event. Thank you for all you do.

Happy drawing,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Children's Art Recreated

Taking children's art and turning it into current art? Love the idea and it just goes to show how sophisticated artists kids really are. :) Here are two artists that are taking a slightly different angle on this idea.


Dave DeVries, working out of New Jersey, uses kids doodles and drawings, and recreates them with a grown up flavor. His site The Monster Engine has been around for quite some time and has become quite a hit since is was first created in 2005. I love that he truly retains the essence and feel of the original doodles.


Yeondoo Jung, from Korea, takes the same idea but executes it in a completely different way. His "Wonderland" series explores simplistic shape focused children's sketches which he interprets into striking photography.

Happy drawing to all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mila's Day Dream

How creative is this? Adele Enersen, while her daughter is soundly asleep, creates a completely different world … from whatever she can find around her! How inspiring is this and how visually wonderful! I'd love to see her come out with a picture book using this vey unique medium.

Her is her blog: http://milasdaydreams.blogspot.com/

Her facebook fan page is: http://www.facebook.com/MilasDaydreams?v=photos#!/MilasDaydreams?v=wall


Monday, January 24, 2011

Some great School Visit Resources

School Visits. Authors do them; illustrators do them, should you? I would say, most definitely yes! Not only are they a wonderful way to let your audience know about you, your craft and your books, they are a great opportunity to learn about your audience and they are a great way to supplement your income. However, my favorite reason for doing school visits is to see how excited the kids and teachers get when you shown them your books and tell them about what you do. I come away from a school visit excited and inspired about what I do and eager to get back to work. That to me is worth more than anything.

So what is involved with school visits? Well, I won’t sugar coat it, they are a lot of work and take quite a lot of preparation. How do you book a visit? What do you include in your presentation? How much should you charge? How do you tie into the school curriculum? There are countless questions that come to mind, especially if you have never prepared and presented a school visit before.

Instead of writing up a huge long blog entry, I thought it best to provide some web resources from what I would call school visit experts. There is a lot of information on the web but I have found the following to be the upmost best on the subject. If you stumble across additional resource please send me the links as I am working on updating my website, where I am adding a section on school visit resources.

A couple of months ago, my AZ Chapter of the SCBWI offered a workshop with Alexis O’Neill on “Creating School Visits That Wow”. It was a very helpful presentation and offered some great resources. Alexis O’Neill a successful author, Regional Advisor for the SCBWI and the founder of both The Children’s Authors Network and School Visit Experts.com. You can read more about this incredible lady at: http://www.childrensauthorsnetwork.com/author/AO.htm This workshop sent me on a path to find out more about school visits seeing that I am not doing them much more frequently. Following are some incredible resources to get you started. Here we go:

School Visit Experts.com (http://schoolvisitexperts.com/)

This site is a great place if you have specific questions about school visits. The resource page has a long list of articles ranging from Nine Business Basics for School Visits, Promoting Your AvailabilityShaping Your Presentation, and The Reluctant Presenter just to name a few.

Children’s Authors Network (http://www.childrensauthorsnetwork.com/)

CAN! was formed to provide meaningful programs promoting literacy and the creative process. This site is incredible when it comes to understanding what is involved with school visits. Check out these to get just a little taste of what you can find on this site:

The award winning author Verla Kay, offers a wealth of information when it comes to writing in general and her website, which even has a message board, has twice been named one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer's Digest. On Verla Kay's Blog, she wrote an entire series of articles about school visits that are all a must read. There is a search feature on her blog. Just type in school visits and you’ll get a list of articles about the topic.

Elizabeth Dulemba, http://dulemba.com/

If you are not familiar with “E” you have to check out both her website and blog. I would say that she is the one to follow when it comes to self-promotion and thinking outside the box. Check out her page on school visits, for great pointers and even a way on how to help your school get funding for the visits. “E” even presents her visits via Skype. She has a wonderful Media section, featuring posters, brochures, and other things that are great for school visits. Her links page, features some great articles that she has written.

I hope this helps a little.

Happy drawing.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

IF - Chicken

This chicken, certainly isn't chicken. :)
I paintined this piece for a workshop a while ago. It's in acrylic. Hope you like it.